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Letters to the Editor

Bob Swanda, community friend


I was saddened to learn of Bob Swanda's passing. I'll remember him best by paraphrasing the Boyce and Hart lyrics from the age when we were schoolmates, neighbors and buddies:

"A friend will never leave you,

If you're wrong or if you're right;

Now I(don't) wonder

What he's doing tonight."

What Bob is probably doing Up There for The Almighty is similar to what he did down here: keeping the power equipment running smoothly, oiling the pearly gates, finding a better way to polish the golden throne.

Oh, yeah, Bob is probably looking down on the legion of friends and strangers he helped or comforted.

"A gentleman from sole to crown," he was always there to help. If only Robert Norman Swanda would have reached out to us.

Jim Lazarus

New Richmond

Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage


Caregiving can be an emotionally, physically and financially draining role. Across the country there are more than 15 million Americans providing unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's or other dementias. In 2016, these caregivers provided an estimated 18.2 billion hours of care valued at over $230 billion. I have been one of those caregivers. Between being a professional and personal caregiver, the balance of keeping our loved ones safe and in the least restrictive environment has been a difficult journey for me.

I am proud to support the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (s. 1028), recently reintroduced in the Senate by Senators Collins (R-Maine), Baldwin (D-WI), Murkowski (D-MN), and Bennet (R-CO). The RAISE Family Caregivers Act would provide much needed support to our nation's caregivers. Endorsed by the Alzheimer's Association, it would facilitate the creation of national strategy to address the many issues facing caregivers, including education and training, long-term services and supports and financial stability and security.

Importantly, the RAISE Family Caregivers Act is consistent with the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, which seeks to expand and enhance training, education and support for caregivers of people with Alzheimer's and other dementias.

Please join me in asking Senator Harsdorf and others to support the RAISE Family Caregivers Act. Our families are needing much support to care for our loved ones with dementia.

Jackie Waalen

Alzheimer's Association Board Member

Fireworks safety


Phantom Fireworks hopes everyone enjoys a wonderful family Independence Day holiday, and if you use consumer fireworks, please use them safely. There is no good consumer fireworks experience if it does not emphasize safety first.

Phantom advises everyone to follow the safety rules, obey the fireworks laws where you are using them and have the products used by a sober adult who conforms to the rules.

Phantom asks anyone using consumer fireworks to familiarize themselves with the fireworks use rules posted in the Fireworks University section of

The primary rule is that a designated adult should handle, control and set off the fireworks. The designated shooter must refrain from using alcohol until after the fireworks show.

There should be an adequate water supply in case of emergencies. A connected hose is best, but a fire extinguisher or even a bucket of water will do.

The audience should be a safe distance away from the launch site. Phantom advises a minimum of 35 feet from any ground-based product and 150 feet from any aerial product.

Use only one firework item at a time.

Never tried to relight a product that does not work the first time.

Never place any part of your body over a firework item.

Soak spent fireworks in water overnight, then dispose of them in a nonflammable container away from the house and outside of any structure.

Enjoy the Fourth of July holiday with your family, and do so safely. Thank you.

William A. Weimer

Vice President, Phantom Fireworks

Editor's note: There is a Phantom Fireworks located in Roberts

Hear about Wisconsin United to Amend


Did you know that the U.S. Constitution was created to protect people from the monopoly of corporations?

Our country was set up so all [white male] individuals would have representation in government, and not be run by a select few in power.

Things have changed in the 241 years since. Thankfully, "the People" now includes women and people of other races.

Now, on the not-so- great end:

• Corporations have votes and the same or more civil rights than individuals.

• Money has a loud voice.

• Only people with huge financial resources can successfully run for state and federal public office.

• Candidates are backed by a very few citizens who control most money interests.

• Many legislators spend 30-60 percent of their work time raising money to stay in office, rather than representing the people.

Most Americans believe that hard work and integrity will create good lives for us, our neighbors and our children. Wealthy political interests do not care about what happens for middle and lower class citizens. They use lies and emotional issues to pit us against one another. They continue to systematically build organizations like Citizens United to buy legislators' votes. Most ugly, is that caring community members hesitate to talk to one another about important issues, for fear of alienating their friends. Through media and political statements, issues are polarized and constructed to divide us. We cannot count on people in government to change the unfair system.

The Good News: Quoted from the WIUTA website. Learn how you can lend your voice to this effort.

"Wisconsin United to Amend ( is a non-partisan state network of concerned citizens dedicated to restoring our representative democracy, by minimizing the corruptive influence that money has on our political process. We seek to overturn Citizens United and related Supreme Court decisions so we may reclaim the liberties and privileges guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution for real people.

Over 730 communities across the U.S. have already passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment, including over 100 governments in WI and 19 state legislatures. Once enough states press Congress on this, they will be forced to act."

There will be an open meeting related to this topic at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 26 at Table 65. Reservations needed. Lorene Vedder will facilitate. She is a retired physician who is informing people about Wisconsin United to Amend. She has studied thoughtfully and extensively on this issue and its historical significance.

Signed by New Richmond, Star Prairie and Somerset residents:

Carol Jones

Kate Haugen

Carleen Tjader

Judy Anderson

Cheryl Boetcher

Rita Keating

Barb Arnst

Vicki Harmon

Kay Brooks

Lu Jasperson

Heather Hansen

Mary Jane Bridge

Cindy Gibson

Patty Schachtner

Marcy Armstrong Dorau

Put the phone down


Did you know that we have a new society? Yes, we do. I call it the "heads down society." Just about everyone I see on a daily basis is either walking, sitting, standing, riding a bike or driving a 4,000 lb. weapon with their head down. You know what I'm talking about. People have an addiction to their personal electronic devices. They have no clue what is going on around them. Do you want to go through your life being controlled by a cell phone or similar device? You are missing a world out there people. Get your collective heads out of your ---- and look around. Do you really want to spend your life this way? Do you even put your devices down to sleep? These devices have become an appendage to your body. Some people think this addiction is worse than drugs, alcohol or gambling. I see couples, and families, out eating, and no one is talking to one another. You might as well be sitting alone. Kids are being ignored by parents that think whatever they are doing on the smartphone is more important than conversing with their children or family. Parenting is not spending hours a day on the cell. Believe me, you will regret this someday, but it will be far too late. You parents that drive, talk on the phone or text in front of your children should be ashamed of the example you are setting. Some day you just might be sitting at their funeral because of the example you set. Think of that. I'm not one for government control, but I don't see any other way this behavior can be controlled. It is out of control now. The penalties need to be more severe. At least some people's behavior might be modified. You people that have to be on the phone nearly every minute you're awake will most certainly put down the phone on your own. A small slap on the wrist fine will not modify the behavior of talking and texting on the phone while driving. The social aspect of cell phones bothers me a lot, but the driving issue bothers me much more. I'm sure that if I don't die from natural causes it will probably happen from someone texting and crashing into me. I know this rant will not change a person's behavior, but if just one person makes a change it will have been worth my time to pen this. Put the phone down when driving. It can wait.

Joel Pederson

New Richmond